Zayn Malik 'Lookalike' Teaching Assistant Convicted For Having Sex With Pupil
A teaching assistant who claimed pupils fancied him because he looks like Zayn Malik has been jailed for five years after he slept with a 15-year-old schoolgirl.
Hamid Bhatti, 24, said 'the girl drooled over him' because he's young, of Pakistani descent and bears a resemblance to the One Direction heartthrob.
But a court heard that the maths aide groomed the Year 10 student after meeting her while on a placement at her school, lavishing her with jewellery and love notes.
He and the girl embarked on an eight-month relationship and they slept together at least 14 times, jurors were told.
Bhatti pictured leaving court.Credit: SWNS
Suspicions were roused when she blew him a kiss through a classroom window and Bhatti was seen by a teacher sending it back.
And the affair was exposed when the girl's mum found a love note from Bhatti saying: "You were amazing last night as always," it was said.
Bhatti, from Rochdale, had denied five counts of sexual activity with a child at least 14 times between May 2014 and February 2015.
He also denied abducting a child after he allegedly ignored an order made by police banning him from contacting her.
But after an eight-day trial at Taunton Crown Court, he was found guilty of the abduction and two counts of sexual activity with a child.
He was found not guilty of three other counts of sexual activity, including a specimen charge which said he slept with her at least 10 times.
He was jailed for five years for the sexual activity with a minor and two for the abduction, to run concurrently, during a hearing on Wednesday.
Sentencing him, Judge David Ticehurst said: "For a period you were undoubtedly in a sexual relationship with a girl you knew to be under the age of consent.
"It's clear she was a vulnerable girl who had difficulties in her life, and your presence in her life only compounded those difficulties.
"Your interest in her was for your own sexual gratification and you chose to abuse her.
"It is doubly regrettable that you were a teaching assistant at the time you met the girl.
"Your duty was to support the staff and the students at the school and instead you abused a young girl and took advantage of her crush.
"You will never be able to work in teaching ever again, and I cannot think of a person less suitable to do so."
The court heard that Bhatti and his schoolgirl lover, who cannot be named for legal reasons, lied to police multiple times to try and protect him.
When questioned after they were spotted blowing a kiss to one another, both denied having a sexual relationship and Bhatti said it was a 'joke'.
He was sacked from his job the following month, in June 2014, after three different staff members reported him for improper conduct.
But by that time he and the girl were already in a relationship, which began after Bhatti invited her on a date while he was still employed by the school.
Jurors were told that, on their first date, they kissed and cuddled in the then 22-year-old's car and slept together for the first time later that week, in May 2014.
The girl was questioned by police in July 2014 after she turned up at school with a 'black eye' and her mum was called in, the court heard.
Zayn Malik pictured at the 2015 British Asian Awards. Credit: PA Images
But she lied about what had happened, admitting she stayed at Bhatti's house but claiming they didn't have sex and that the black eye was from tripping over.
In October, the girl's mum called police after finding a handwritten note among her daughter's belongings, it was heard.
Bhatti wrote: "Hey baby, I'm sorry I had to leave this morning for work. You were amazing last night as always.
"I hope you get this message and leave me a note. Plan to see you soon. I love you. P.s. don't forget to go to the doctors."
The couple still denied they were having an affair, but the note prompted police to issue Bhatti with an anti-abduction notice, prohibiting him from contacting the child.
The court heard that the teacher completely ignored the warning and was finally caught out after the teenager went missing in February 2015.
Police went to Bhatti's house to enquire about the girl's whereabouts and he told them he had not seen or spoken to her for a long time.
Suspicious, they returned later that day and officers standing at the back of the property in Yeovil, Somerset, caught the teenager trying to flee.
Police discovered a used condom with the pupil's DNA on it in his bedroom.
Bhatti was arrested but gave police a 'no comment. interview and afterwards still continued to pester the girl. He even called her friends and family and pretended to be her father so he could talk to her on the phone.
He was finally charged with sexual activity with a minor in June 2015, after the girl, who was by then 16, opened up to family and finally told police the 'whole truth'.
Throughout his trial he admitted that he slept with the girl after she was 16 but maintained that their relationship was not sexual until then.
As well as five years in prison, he will be added to the sex offender's register indefinitely.